Foreign Office minister in Abu Dhabi for talks on ‘desperate’ Gaza situation

A Foreign Office minister will travel to the United Arab Emirates to continue talks with partners in the Middle East about establishing a “sustainable ceasefire” in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon will return to the region on Monday to continue British engagement over the conflict, the Foreign Office said.

He will visit Abu Dhabi, where he is expected to meet foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss how to secure an “immediate pause” in the fighting, and alleviate the “desperate” humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Officials said he will try to “build momentum” on the UK initiative for an international contact group that can work towards long-term peace and stability in the region.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has been advancing the concept in recent weeks.

Middle East minister Lord Ahmad said: “The humanitarian situation in Gaza is desperate and there is an urgent need for an immediate pause to get life-saving aid in and hostages out.

“The UK remains firmly committed to working with our key partners, like the UAE, to secure an immediate pause in fighting, make progress towards a sustainable ceasefire, and build momentum towards a long-term political solution to the crisis.”

Hamas raids on southern Israel on October 7, in which about 1,300 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped, sparked a renewed conflict in the Middle East.

Israel has retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip that have left more than 27,000 dead, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The visit follows a tour of the region by the Foreign Secretary.

Lord Cameron in January visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, along with Qatar, Turkey, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, to discuss the conflict and regional security.

He has irked some senior Conservatives by proposing that the UK look at recognising a Palestinian state despite Israeli opposition.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads a right-wing government, has said publicly that he does not support Palestinian statehood.

But Lord Cameron told the Sunday Times his comments had been about preparing a Palestinian authority to have a “technically able government” ready in Gaza and the West Bank from “day one” of any peace deal.

“We need to start setting out the political horizon,” the former prime minister said.

“We are trying to separate the Palestinian people from the terrorists that have been running their government in Gaza and the way to do that is to say there is a better future if you choose it.

“You have got to make the peace process better than the return-to-war process.”